How to Support Nurses During Covid-19 Pandemic? COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us. The pandemic has placed health care workers to face the crisis on multiple levels. The sheer volume of patients that healthcare workers are handling is like nothing like before.
Because of the infectious nature of COVID-19, front-line caregivers are putting their lives at risk every day to treat and care for the patients. With multiple shifts and workload, nurses can’t even go home to their families just because they can’t put their loved ones at risk.
The theme of World Health Day this year was particularly about supporting nurses and midwives. Though the Word Heath Day has passed, the challenges nurses face are endless.
Planning and providing support for nurses should always remain the priority for the community and health care leaders. Here are some ways you can support the nurses during the pandemic.
Attention to emotional and mental well-being
The outbreak has built a considerable amount of stress for the nurses. Prior to the outbreak, most of the health care centres were understaffed and nurses had to work multiple shifts. Health care workers had to witness countless deaths during the pandemic and care for patients with high-risk levels.
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) notes that during the COVID-19 pandemic, “nurses are experiencing pressure, fear, exhaustion, isolation and ongoing emotional trauma”
Nurses are likely to have strong emotions (fear, anger, worries) during the COVID-19. Inadequate time to be with their loved ones, fear of getting infected and losing patients during the treatments will be extremely difficult for them. They may potentially have a conflict with the team, health leaders or even the health centre protocols. As a team who are all working on the same cause, the most important thing is to be patient and support them during these difficult times.
This is where the psychological needs come to the forefront.
- The health leaders need to make sure that they are met with the essentials such as food, drinks, enough rest and adequate sleep. They need to monitor work breaks and nurses’ well-being regularly.
- Provide the best protective supplies and training to deal with the patients who are dealing with anxiety and panic.
- Encourage nurses to communicate their problems to their managers regularly. Officials need to highlight the importance of communications between the team and support each other.
- Encourage a budding system for teammates to get to know each other. As nurses might be working with various personnel during different shifts, proper communication is vital to make sure that nurses are welcomed and not overstressed. This can also create a learning environment and reduce the psychological impact on their mental health.
- Encourage nurses to report any workplace violence even by physical or oral means. Hospitals need to implement a zero-tolerance policy against such incidents and create a strict code of conduct to educate and address such disruptive behaviour.
As a community, we need to appreciate the nurses for all the hard work they are doing putting their life on the line. We have seen a lot of campaigns showing gratitude towards nurses with campaigns like ‘Operation Thank A nurse’ and hashtag campaigns like #ThankYouNurses. But over time, these gratitude campaigns have declined or forgotten over time while they are still working shifts over shifts to save the patients. Social support is priceless and we can show gratitude in several ways.
- Dedicated work hours for nurses to give them priority access for shopping. We have seen brands like Walmart and Costco coming up with a similar campaign that has got much attention during the past few months.
- Special discounts for nurses as an encouragement for the amazing work they are doing in the frontline.
- Help nurses who are hungry or in need of financial help with ‘GoFundMe’ programs
- Childcare programs for nurses who are parents and not able to find time to take care of their kids
- Wear masks and follow distancing. Because nothing helps more than having fewer patients coming to them due to COVID-19. As a responsibility towards the nurses, we need to ensure that we follow all the COVID-19 guidelines to stop the spread of viruses from our end.
- Panic health checks are becoming more common with the symptoms which are completely unrelated to COVID-19. We need to take care of our health and encourage people in our circle to stay home and leave only if necessary. Use the emergency health services only if it is necessary. This can help to reduce the workload on the nurses.
The last thing the nurses want is people using them as a COVID19 resource to get the latest news and updates. The pandemic is already a stressful period and the health care workers are getting lesser breaks than often. Instead, as simple as joining them over a tea or binge-watching their favourite shows together can lift up their mood and shake off the day.
Keep in mind that social distancing is applicable to everyone. Just because nurses work closely with patients, doesn’t mean you should avoid them from your social life. Keep in touch with them and include them in your social circle.
Career development in nursing
In these trying times, we know nurses are understaffed in most of the hospitals. With registered nurses to grow by 15% over the coming decade, the career in the nursing industry is growing big time and becoming one of the consistently top-ranked professions in America over the years.
Healthcare leaders need to promote the importance of nursing and promote the development of the profession as a nurse in the country.
More than a high earning salary, nurses can work with interesting people, and most importantly, make an everlasting impact on people’s lives. You can get a degree from institutions like Labouré College, that can help you to build your dream nursing career with an equally rewarding salary.
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